I heard this mentioned on the news, and I just wanted to say: Rush Limbaugh…meet me at paragraph three for an important lesson in Latin and debate.
“[E]verywhere Obama is spreading Obamaism there is a deadly disease taking place, either in the TARP community or the newspaper business. Obama goes to Mexico; they have an earthquake. Obama goes to Mexico, they get pig flu. I mean, the fact is that Barack Obama is bad for business. He is poison to prosperity.”
Rush. Rush, honey. Pay attention, because I only have enough patience to say this once. I learned this in Latin class, and if I didn’t I’d have learned it from The West Wing. You just used a logical fallacy known as “post hoc, ergo propter hoc”, which doesn’t mean “after hoc, therefore something else hoc”, it means “after this, therefore because of this.” In layman’s terms, it doesn’t mean that because x happened, it caused y. Earthquakes are caused by tectonic shift; diseases are caused and propagated by unsanitary breeding conditions and live hosts to pass them along. For a personal example, I forgot my lucky necklace at home on 9/11. I felt a bizarre responsibility for it, even though I knew that it was correlation, not causation. I can be forgiven, though – I was ten.
Good try though, Rush. Just the thing to stir up fear and hatred in your listeners, though, right? “Obama is the cause of all of our problems. Obama is a socialist. Obama is a closet Muslim. Obama will kill your dog.” Yeah. Right. Not pushing any agenda here (or that famed Liberal Media Bias™ that I hear so much about), just, you know, grow up. I’m a tolerant person (and apparently an ideological masochist because I think it’s fun to hear this and challenge my preconceived notions by listening to other ideas), and I love seeing unfounded mass chickens-with-their-heads-cut-off panic if I can get some popcorn with it, but this “rah rah rah socialist rah rah rah ACORN rah rah rah rah” business is getting old – don’t you have something else to natter on about? Like the pitiful state of our nursing home system, for example? Or are you just afraid of saying something that matters for a change? I’m all for an exchange of ideas – I welcome it! – but reasonable dialogue requires that both sides be amenable to listening as well as talking. We’re not going to get anything done if we just toss fallacies like post hoc and strawmen at each other.